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I'm worried I look incompetent at work, what can I do?

100 Answers
Last Updated: 04/08/2021 at 10:30pm
★ This question about Work Stress was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Sarah Archer, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

As a Licensed MFT I work with clients to more effectively address, process and learn skills to manage the problems that prevent them from living the life they want.

Top Rated Answers
October 21st, 2020 8:31am
There is always two answers to any problem it will either be the good way or the bad way. If you feel incompetent at work , it is you who has to figure out why you are incompetent and find out the reasons and the source of the problem. Might be that you are working but not efficiently and maybe the work is being done in the wrong direction resulting in no output at all either way it is only you who can find the answer and figure out the solution. Further to this , analyze the problem , form a plan of how to cope up , maybe share your problems with someone ( your boss ) and ask for tips , there are always people around you who wont lose anything in giving you a good advice but if there are people who may gain something try to avoid asking for advice from them. In the end there is no problem in this world that cant be fixed , it only needs the right direction and I am sure you will be able to beat it soon.
November 11th, 2020 11:49am
A lot of people have worries about work. It is one of the most stressful activities because it ties in to so many different areas of your life. If you do badly at work, you may get fired and then how would support yourself and your family. What about the Jones next door who already seems to be outcompeting you in everything they do. But back to the actual question, incompetence at work and what you can do about it. Most incompetent workers really have no desire to learn about their jobs or their roles. You can only look incompetent if you are incompetent. I know you could be having a bad day too like you are running late, misplace something important you need, thinking out loud about the ridiculous work load within your boss ear shot by mistake. But these are things you can do. 1. Read your job descriptions 2. Learn about your job 3. Shadow the most competent worker that everyone looks up to 4. Follow their examples 5. Show off your work in a non competitive way 6. But most of all, do your job 7. Of course, appearance do matter! Do not believe otherwise. If you are getting paid to do a job, then get dress for the part. And remember you do not have to be passionate about your job and show it. It may make you look incompetent. Just remember you are getting paid. I hope this helps.
November 15th, 2020 10:37am
Firstly, I hear you. There are so many instances in which I myself have felt incompetent at work. It's difficult to motivate myself in those times and it's challenging to overcome. Here's a few tricks I've learnt along the way that have helped me value myself a little more: 1. Every time I feel incompetent I sit down and answer the following questions" -What is the task that I do not feel prepared to handle? -Have I done this in the past? Was I successful - why? Could it have gone better - how? -What skills do I possess that can help me complete this? -Who can I turn to if I need support with this? These help me get a realistic idea of what is making me feel incompetent. 2. I have written a few reminders on sticky notes" "Take a deep breath ... you've got this!" "It's not a road block, just a challenge" "You're ready to take this on" I've put these up on my desk to remind me I've got what it takes to do this 3. I check-in with myself regularly to see where I'm being most effective and where I need to improve. Try answering these questions: -what's working? -what's not working? -what's missing? -what's next? These can help you set goals and move forward through constant self-review! Hope this helps:)
November 21st, 2020 9:59pm
I'm worried I look incompetent at work, what can I do? Well; what is meant by incompetent. You are not appropriate. Did you forget, they won’t hire; if they have seen some potential requirement or being qualified in you. I’m sure many applied and you have been chosen. You are competent. Your responsibility, your performance: From friends and relationships, to diet and sleep, to self care and hygiene. All of these external factors will affect your performance in work. Your attendance, your performance at the work it self. Do you reach on time. Your half way. Do you get tasks handed in and completed. Well, you may be a critic and say “ I make mistakes” Well people who work that are more likely to make some mistakes. That is a prove you are working or even making progress. Some reasons for being paranoid at work: Past experiences at jobs that didn’t go great. Unfortunate circumstance that might paint a negative picture in your mind. Making a mistake or some mistakes at work. Postponing your leave or vacation; might lead you bad thinking. A way to deal with that Making a list of external responsibilities, if those are fulfilled mostly. They won’t affect your work place any more. Making another list for you all completed tasks and were accepted. And looking at it from time to time. You get a sense of achievement.
November 27th, 2020 2:48pm
Notice the Thoughts You're Having. The first step in changing any behavior is to realize that it's happening. ... Ask Yourself: Is This a Fact? ... Ask Yourself: What if the Opposite Were True? ... Be Proactive. Check off as Much as You Can on Friday. ... Prepare for the Next Week. ... Give Yourself a Worry Period. ... Plan out Your Weekend. ... Take Time to Reflect & Relax. ... Practice Self-Care. ... Talk it Out. An incompetent employee is basically an employee who doesn't have the necessary job skills to do a job well. That may include a dysfunctional or toxic personality or bad social skills which manifests itself with bad relationships with the boss or manager and with coworkers thus endangering good morale
January 1st, 2021 8:13pm
I used to feel the same way (being worried that I seem incompetent to others). I started to get over this once I realized that everyone is absorbed in their own lives. Others don't usually care as much as you may think they do. In this situation - and I know it is easier said than done - I would try my best to improve and work on growing without worrying too much about how others see it. As long as you are doing your best and improving over time, hopefully, your worries will subside and all will be alright. I feel that my own self-image has improved by doing this over the years.
January 15th, 2021 5:44pm
This has been something I constantly worried about when I worked in New York. The job I had was not the degree I had taken in school. I had learned how to do most of it on the job while others had more official qualifications. I worried perpetually that during a meeting I would do or say the wrong thing and would be found out. I started to realize that the reason I was in the position was that many people believed in me. They all knew my history and I didn't have to pretend I was something other. If I didn't know something, I could just admit it and commit to learning it. If I said something wrong, I learned to say to myself "so what?". Is it the crime of the century? Nope. This helped me put things in perspective.
January 21st, 2021 2:34am
In my experience, people often turn out to be less critical than I imagine that they will be. If I arrive clean and on time and I give the project my attention, I find that people respond positively. Competence is something that will be shown through results, or "the proof is in the pudding." It has helped me to calm my concerns by trying to remember that other people at work or school have their own worries and insecurities, and that it is more likely that they are focused on their own problems than that they are concerning themselves with scrutinizing me.
March 18th, 2021 6:08am
WHY it is that you feel incompetent and why do you constantly run from one thing to the other. try to explore your strengths and try to reduce your weaknesses , do not compare yourself with others.. every person is different and different ability.. You might be a better performer in your forte. Sometimes it’s helpful to zero in on how we “feel.” The true nature of the mind is that it is constantly changing. One moment I’m reading yahoo news and getting depressed/cynical and the next moment I’m watching comedy central and laughing. This means because because I feel something in the moment does not make it a fact. The suffering comes in when we believe our feelings are one-dimensional concrete truths, but the vast majority of emotional suffering stems from our relationship to our inner experience;
April 8th, 2021 10:30pm
It can be really hard to feel incompetent to work, and it's easy to feel like an impostor, where everyone else knows what they're doing except you. This probably isn't the case, but it's still very stressful if you do feel incompetent compared with other people. Here are a few things you could possibly try, although different things work for different people, so these may not be the best methods for you personally: - Think about the reasons why you feel incompetent, and see if you can solve (or get support to solve) any problems that arrive. - It's easy to get caught up in your own fears, so perhaps asking a peer or boss what you can do to improve would help. Work on doing your best, but not being perfect. - Focus on your self confidence, and being able to communicate your ideas to others in a clear way. Also working on the skills needed for your job if you do get any areas to improve on. - Learn from your peers, or take courses to improve if you feel that is necessary, but also take time for yourself and your mental health. - Try to positively affirm your competence over time, for example: 'I am competent', 'I deserve this career'. - Smile! This makes you appear more self confident, as well as allowing you to gradually feel a little better.